Overnight on Tuesday, a Royal Navy warship, in conjunction with US naval vessels and aircraft, downed seven Houthi drones in an effort to repel the most extensive Houthi missile and drone assault to date.
An attack by British and American forces against a militant group in Yemen, backed by Iran, seems imminent, following the Houthi rebels’ refusal to heed a warning to cease their assaults on vessels in the Red Sea.
The defense secretary of the United Kingdom, Grant Shapps, accused Iran of interference and declared “enough is enough” in a tense situation that threatened to spark a broader conflict throughout the Middle East.
A growing number of nations are also concerned about the global economic repercussions of the shipping disruption through the vital Red Sea, as vessels opt to deviate, thereby increasing trade costs and possibly sparking inflation.
Overnight on Tuesday, a Royal Navy warship, in conjunction with US naval vessels and aircraft, shot down seven Houthi drones in an effort to repel the most extensive Houthi missile and drone assault to date.
This occurred notwithstanding a warning issued a week ago by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other allies to the group to cease its targeting of commercial shipping or “face the repercussions.”
“Beware of this space”
When queried about the inevitability of military retaliation against Houthi targets, Mr. Shapps responded to reporters on Wednesday: “While I am unable to provide specifics, I can say that the joint statement we issued unequivocally stated that action would be taken if the current situation does not change. Therefore, the bare minimum is to advise observers to remain vigilant.”
Furthermore, he expressed notably harsh sentiments towards Iran, accusing it of equipping the Houthis and facilitating surveillance to detect shipping targets.
The Houthi militants launched a massive assault last night, but there is absolutely no doubt that Iran is directing events in the Red Sea, the defense secretary stated.
“In addition to furnishing them with the necessary equipment to execute such attacks, we frequently act as observers and listeners to permit such activities to transpire.”
With regard to our stance, enough is sufficient.
Regarding whether this indicated that the United Kingdom and its allies were prepared to launch a direct attack against Iran, Mr. Shapps stated: “Our primary concern is the source of these attacks, which is the Houthis, who, as you are aware, are stationed in Yemen and launching attacks from there. Therefore, we have issued a call for the Houthis to cease and desist their activities.” “It is now necessary for that to occur.”
The Houthi began targeting Israeli-affiliated shipping in the Red Sea in November as a form of resistance against Israel’s occupation of Gaza, which was initiated in response to a devastating terrorist attack against Israeli targets by Hamas, another militant organization supported by Iran, on October 7.
On Wednesday, a Houthi spokesman claimed accountability for the most recent significant missile and drone assault, stating that they directed the attack at a United States warship that had been providing support to Israel.
Brigadier General Yahya Saree conveyed that the militants would persist in their objective, stating that “the siege on our steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip will cease until the aggression ceases.”
Consequences will follow
While on a visit to the region, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated the message conveyed to the Houthis in the joint statement dated 3 January: Twenty countries have “made it clear that there will be consequences if these attacks continue as they did yesterday.”
Houthi militias in Yemen launched eighteen one-way attack drones, which were explosive upon impact. British and American forces intercepted two anti-ship cruise missiles and one anti-ship ballistic missile on Tuesday night.
A statement from the United States military characterizing the assault as a “complex attack” indicates that it commenced at approximately 9:15 p.m. local time.
This was the 26th Houthi assault on commercial transport since November 19, according to the United States.
Mr. Shapps elaborated on the United Kingdom’s involvement in a statement posted to social media: “Overnight, HMS Diamond and United States warships effectively repelled the Iranian-backed Houthis’ largest attack to date in the Red Sea.
By strategically utilizing Sea Viper missiles and guns, Diamond successfully neutralized numerous assailant drones and commercial vessels in the vicinity, all while ensuring that neither Diamond nor her personnel suffered any injuries or damage.
International Response to Naval Threat
The United Kingdom and its allies have previously declared unequivocally that these unlawful assaults are wholly abhorrent, and the Houthis will face repercussions should they persist.
Preserving the global economy and safeguarding innocent lives will require our full attention.
Iran-backed Houthis claim responsibility for the assaults, stating their purpose is to end Hamas’ air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, which began on October 7.
A coalition of nations, commanded by the United States, has been patrolling the Red Sea in an effort to avert the attacks.
Ships observed drones and approaching missiles.
Tuesday, off the Yemeni port of Hodeida, the United Kingdom Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO), which monitors shipping attacks in the region, confirmed knowledge of an attack.
Ambrey, a private intelligence firm, reported that vessels detected missiles and drones via radio transmissions, and US-allied warships in the vicinity ordered “vessels to proceed at maximum speed.”
Wednesday’s United Nations Security Council resolution, which could potentially condemn and demand an immediate halt to rebel attacks against merchant and commercial vessels, was preceding the attack.